How hard are some of these popular wargames? Written from a Eurogamer perspective.
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We, seasoned Eurogamers, see all these cool wargames (Washington's War, Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage etc.) and we wonder: "I am ready for a new style of games, would this be something for me?"

We check the weight rating and it's only 2.5 (Washington's War) or so, and we think well Agricola is 3.6 so how hard can this be?

Then we end up buying one of these games, we read the rules three or four times and we are like: "how am I ever going to explain this game to my Eurogamer friends/wife/gf??? There are just too many rules! Rule 11.2.5 says you can do this, but rule 13.7.4.C says that you can't do it if the Allies control the bunkers in hex D5 and F9."

This scenario has happened to me several times. I bought We the People, Wilderness War and Hammer of the Scots only to realize that I would never get this on the table simply because I had such a hard times understanding the rules, let alone explain it to someone else and so I ended up selling/trading these games again.

This list will go through some of the wargames that are in the wargame top 100 that I have tried and my experiences with them. I hope this list can assist you, Eurogamer, to make some first steps into the wonderful realm of wargaming...

Now please note that this list is not in chronological order of my ventures into wargaming, but it's listed in order from the some of the easiest wargames to some of the hardest, from my Eurogamer perspective of course.

I don't claim to be a wargamer so grognards have mercy on me please.

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1. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:336]
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Number 70 in the wargames top 100.

Very easy to understand. Eurogamers can pick this up and pretty much start playing after 5 minutes.

On a scale from 1(easiest) to 5 (hardest) that I have played this is a 1.
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2. Board Game: History of the World [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:604]
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Number 72.

Again pretty easy. Eurogamers should have no issues with this. If you can play Ticket to Ride and Risk you can probably play this.

Again a 1 on the scale.
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3. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
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Number 33.

Ah, this is more like a wargame. The great thing about this game is that it gets gradually harder. I have played this game a lot with my 8 and 10 year old sons. Scenario 1 is just super simple but every scenario just adds one or two more rules.

I recommend this one. If you can play Stone Age you can play this.

Let's put this at 1.5 on the scale.
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4. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:949]
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Number 95.

This starting to get a little bit more complex. There are two sides that both play a little different. The game comes with a whole bunch of optional rules so you can start with the simple version. If you can play Puerto Rico you should be able to handle this.

Let's put this at a 2 on the complexity scale for Eurogamers.
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5. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:468]
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Number 24.

A great game that a lot of Eurogamers will enjoy. Yes it has some of the wargame rules (supply, force marching) but all done in a very easy to understand way. You can play this with your Eurogamer buddies and explain it in about 5-10 minutes. Where to place this versus a Eurogame? I would say Agricola.

Again a 2 on the scale.
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6. Board Game: Warriors of God [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:1049]
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Number 54.

This game has a great rulebook that works like a Eurogame. You can play this game and have the rulebook on the side. Phase 1, phase 2, phase 3 etc. Your opponent will not be overwhelmed because you can explain it in baby steps. I would still put this at Agricola level.

A 2 as well.
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7. Board Game: España 1936 [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:1709]
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Number 52 in the wargames top 100.

The rulebook is well written but the setup is confusing. They used the setup for the expansion in the rulebook. The rules are easy and this game is just a little harder than Warriors of God. I think you can still introduce this to a seasoned Eurogamer explain the rules in about 10 minutes and get going.

Make this a 2.5 on the difficulty scale.
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8. Board Game: Richard III: The Wars of the Roses [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1230]
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Number 45.

Ah, the famous Columbia block games. If this is your first Columbia game then it's maybe better to start with War of 1812. Nonetheless, Richard III is one of the easier block games. It's harder than Agricola and at this point, and all the games that follow on this list, I am going to start suggesting that you and your opponent both read the rules before you get together. In my limited wargame experience it makes a huge difference if the both of you read the rules, preferably more than once, in advance. It will make the game a lot more enjoyable for the both of you.

Difficulty scale I would say a 3.
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9. Board Game: Hammer of the Scots [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:301]
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Number 17.

One of my mistakes. I bought this game when it came out with no experience in wargaming and didn't have any friends interested in playing this. I tried it solo and I just didn't get it. In hindsight I should have kept the game because I would be able to play it now with no problems.

Let's make this a 3.5
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10. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:4]
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Number 1 on the wargame list.

Again I got this game when it first came out and was my first venture into the "card driven wargame" mechanic. After reading the rules I had no clue what to do. I played it solo a couple of times and then it all started to make sense. The great thing with a CDG is that the cards pretty much determine what you can and so your choices are somewhat easier. Then again there has been quite a bit of debate whether or not this is a wargame.

3.5 again.
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11. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:542]
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Number 53.

The rules seem quite daunting, I believe it's 16 or 20 pages long. You need to play this with four people. It takes quite a long time to play (5 hours or so). It's like a History of the World heavy. I sold this knowing I just couldn't get 4 people together on a regular basis in order to play this.

Make it 3.5 as well.
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12. Board Game: We the People [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1047]
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Number 36.

I found this game in Amsterdam for 50 Euro ($70) and had to have it. Took it back to Pittsburgh and just could not get into it. This was still in my phase as a die hard Eurogamer. Again I should have kept the game. I would have no issues playing it now.

Also a 3.5
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13. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:428]
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Number 47 and rising fast.

The reason I wrote this list. I have only played this game once and made some mistakes and am itching to play it again. The rulebook is great, it only takes about 90-120 minutes to play and is a lot of fun. If you are an experienced eurogamer and so is your opponent and you both agree to read the rules a few times before you get together you are in for a blast.

Same as We the People, a 3.5.


+++Update+++ Played this about 5 or 6 times the past year and I think this might be the easiest CDG, that I know, out there.

Reduce difficulty to a 3.
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14. Board Game: Crusader Rex [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1244]
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Number 71 out of 100.

This is probably the hardest block game from the 3 on this list. From this point on I not only suggest both you and your opponent read the rules in advance but I think from this point on you should have at least played several wargames that have been mentioned on this list so far. This has winter attrition, sallying, harrying, storming, forced marching, castles, retreats etc. etc.

Make this a 4.
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15. Board Game: Successors (third edition) [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:913]
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Number 39.

Now that you have converted some of your friends with other CDG's like Washington's War, Twilight Struggle and We the People you are ready to give this gem a go. Everybody should read the rules in advance. This is such a great game if you can get 4 experienced people together.

Also as you are playing more of these complexer wargames, from a Eurogamers perspective that is, you might be able to hook up with some wargaming veterans. They can open up a whole new world to you. The best way to learn a game is to not only to read the rules and play it solo for a bit, but have somebody who knows the game very well sit down with you and play with you. It's the best way to learn the game and learn some strategies.

Put this at a 4.
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16. Board Game: Sword of Rome [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:854]
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Number 100.

On par with Successors. Some like Sword of Rome better with 4, others, like me, prefer Successors.


A 4 again
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17. Board Game: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:138]
 
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Number 4.

One of the classic CDG's. A masterpiece. Really fun to play. I had a hard time understanding this game at first. Fortunately I met someone who had played the game about a dozen times and was willing to play the game with me. We actually played this with 3 people the first time I played this. Another great way to learn the game. The two newbies played together against the experienced player. That way you have two minds working together. We have played several games like that (2 newbies vs 1) and it works really well.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not an easy game for a Eurogamer. I probably had to play it 3 or 4 times before I played it correctly. Also always read the rules again after you have played the game, you tend to forget little rules at times. I suggest making notes in your rulebook or on a sheet of paper.

Difficulty is similar to Successors and Sword of Rome. A 4.
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18. Board Game: Wilderness War [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:578]
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Number 30.

One of my early purchases. Reading all these rave reviews I had to have it. My FLGS still had a copy left. With no wargaming experience whatsoever it is needless to say this made it's way to E-bay pretty fast.

Now having far more wargaming experience I think I am going to get the reprint with the mounted board.

I read the rules again the other day and it's more complex than Hannibal.

Probably a 4.5

***Update*** Okay, one year later. I couldn't resist and had to buy the GMT Deluxe edition and I am glad I did. I read the rules again and things made far more sense this time. It has a lot of elements from H:RvC and Washington's War but gone are the PC markers. This game feels much more like a wargame than those two.

The really neat thing is that playing the French is completely different than playing the British. Another cool element is that you are allowed to save one card at the end of a season. You know how it goes sometimes in CDG's. You have this awesome card (minor/major campaign card anyone?), but it is useless this year but next year it would be great to have. Well, no problem, just save the card! So far I have played the game twice. I think with some experience you can play the main scenario (3 years) in about 3 hours which is great.

Reducing the difficulty to 4.
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19. Board Game: Combat Commander: Pacific [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:439]
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Number 6.

I bought this game 2 months ago. I thought this game was going to be a lot easier. I was wrong. I find it hard. Lots of rules to look up, really hard to eliminate a unit, frustrating at times. I have it for sale in the marketplace right now.

Maybe squad level wargames are not my cup of tea. Tide of Iron also didn't do it for me. Too many rules that have to be looked up the whole time.

Is this a 4.5?
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20. Board Game: Napoleon's Triumph [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:385]
Eddie B
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Number 5.

This is such a wonderfully produced wargame. The board is fantastic, the wooden pieces are awesome. You feel like you are in a battle room moving your troops around and yet.... I just can't get through the rules. I gave a copy of the rules to one of my buddies who has played Richard III, Combat Commander, Successors, Sword of Rome and Hannibal with me on several occasions and he also has a very hard time understanding the rules.

Together with We the People and Wilderness War this is the only game that I still have not played. I traded We the People, but have Washington's War now and love it. I sold Wilderness War and I am going to pre-order it again. Napoleon's Triumph??? I am going to keep it, it looks so great. I just need to find somebody who knows this game very well and can teach me this game. Is there such a person in the Pittsburgh area???

A 5?
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21. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:646]
Necessary Evil
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You left this one off the list.

Great little tactical war game!

I would put it at a 2
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22. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:205] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Paul Franklin-Bihary
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Difficulty= infinity

Recommended for virtually no Eurogamers.

Nuff said.
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23. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:347]
Roy Hasson
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I feel that Wallenstein is a good mix of Euro-game and war game. It does have some confrontation and battles but it also has the planning and resource management of Euro-games. Being overly aggressive in this game and concentrating just on conquest without ensuring your grain or gold supply will soon leave you facing rebellions all over and losing more territory than you gain.

There is also Shogun the sequel to this game but I have not played it myself.

I would say that Wallenstein's complexity is slightly less than that of Puerto Rico, around that of El Grande.
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24. Board Game: Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:2141]
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
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I think this would be around a 3.5 to a Eurogamer. It is a CDG and reminds me of A House Divided the way units are promoted. If one was interested in the Vietnam War I would suggest it. Not very many pieces to move which I think would be a nice factor. Good game
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25. Board Game: The Campaign for North Africa [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:13327]
David Wickes
United Kingdom
London
Greater London
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"Carcasse, tu trembles? Tu tremblerais bien davantage, si tu savais oú je te mene."

Carcass, you tremble? You'd tremble even more if you knew where I was taking you.

-- Henri Latour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne (1611-1675)

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